Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cricket loses out to Kabaddi?

The recent cricket matches between India and England and now India -WI have drawn poor response from spectators. While some of this was expected due to the heavy cricket calendar and string of defeats in England immediately preceding, the nearly empty stands have been surprising.  While, I pretend to care less about the results (vs earlier) I still am saddened to see India lose and am egging them on to win from the comfort of my living room. In contrast the IPL drew huge crowds.  This raises important questions for the administrators and players alike

1. Are the glory days of test cricket over, despite continuous cries for the purest format from the players because at the end a sport would survive only if there are spectators? 
2. Is ODI format destined to become irrelevant with Players wanting Test Cricket and Spectators wanting T20's? 

For India, importantly, this may be a chance to try popularize other sports. People are already trying to innovate in hockey to revive the game. Similarly there is brewing interest in other traditional and non-traditional sports. Kabaddi, for example.  It was interesting to witness huge in-stadium crowds for the kabaddi world cup organized in Punjab. While a part of the crowd may have been herded in by the gov't, it was any standards. Also, it helps, if team India is doing well. India emerged world champs in Kabaddi, on expected lines.

Perhaps, real acid test for cricket in India would be the series down under. India need to do well to stem decline of interest in the game

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